Friday, January 13, 2017


Lion Heart Records LLC
Released October 16th, 2016
Last time I wrote about Unkempt Herald it was to review the band's self-titled EP that served as an appetizer of sorts for what fans could expect on their upcoming full length, Kegare, and captured a moment in time for a band that I thought was on the cusp of coming into their own and solidifying their sound. Now that I've listened to their latest full length, Kegare, in full, it's clear to me this was exactly the case, and my prior observations ring true. "If this band stays the course, they are certainly on the verge of hitting their stride", was the sentiment when I reviewed that EP just a few months back. Hearing the album in full verified this point and they proved exactly that in their latest effort. Unkempt Herald has found the ingredients that worked for them and honed their craft. It shows in Kegare's songs. It shows in how well the album flows as a complete work, and a complete piece of music, and it shows in the diversity and variation that is achieved musically and sonically. While the band is adventurous, they know how to incorporate elements outside of their own box without sacrificing the strength of the band's foundation. A few songs from the EP return on Kegare, but they are not the same versions. It's worth your time to own both if you already have the EP. Kegare is an ambitious effort that marches to the beat of its own drum, and isn't concerned with catering to genres or genre limitations, but rather embraces a larger spectrum of all things considered heavy, channels them, and winds up running the gamut on Metal, Hardcore, Soul, and substance in a way that is uniquely exclusive to Unkempt Herald. There are some bands that make a habit out of going against the grain, defying the confines of genre specifications, and testing the limits of stylistic interpretations. Unkempt Herald follows in the footsteps of those brave enough to step beyond those parameters, but they do it in a way that only they could. They have found that balance, that chemistry, and that identity that so many bands search for and work towards, and they have poured it into this release. The band has recently released a lyric video for their song, Portrait Of Ruin. You could listen to any song here like Portrait Of Ruin, Empty Sun, Parabolic Flaw, or the powerfully executed closer, Thunderstorms & Nightmares, but you wouldn't be getting the full picture of what Unkempt Herald is all about. Each song can stand strong on its own, but in the context of the full album, they only serve to complement each other by not being content with being a one trick pony. There is a versatility among them that makes them easy to appreciate alone, but that really showcases the band's abilities and lack of desire to fit into a similar box when strewn together. It's nice to see a band like this consider the album as a whole, as opposed to taking the singles approach and filling in the gaps with filler. There is no filler to be found here. Just enough variety to demand that these concepts and ideas span the full length of a record instead of cramming everything into one song. That is a testament to the band's maturity and attention to songwriting. Start to finish, Kegare, is a solid offering that pulls from all over the heavy metal and hardcore palettes. The songs have substance. The lyrics are intelligent. The music is uncompromising. Unkempt Herald has something to say, and with an effort like this, that something just simply commands your attention. And in an era where substance is more of a rarity, and following the leader seems to be the path of least resistance, Unkempt Herald isn't content with taking the familiar road. They, instead, choose to walk their own path. Kegare is available now through the band, at shows, or digitally through Bandcamp and the like. The band is playing Champs in Trenton, NJ with Candiria on January 20th. They have tickets available for that show right now through the band directly, or contact them via their Facebook page. They also plan to announce more tour dates soon through February with It Is Written. -Alan Lisanti

Track list:
1. Intro
2. Paint By Numbers
3. Like White On Brown Rice
4. Empty Sun
5. Interlude
6. Portrait Of Ruin
7. Parabolic Flaw
8. Words They Speak
9. Thunderstorms & Nightmares
10. Outro

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